Chris Cornell wasn't sure if 'Black Hole Sun' should be a single
When Soundgarden ventured to Australia to headline the Big Day Out tour in 1994, they were fast becoming one of the biggest bands on the planet.
Their third album Badmotorfinger had gone gangbusters around the world, positioning the band as one of the main acts in the suddenly very cool grunge scene.
They had just finished making its follow up, 1994’s Superunknown. A 70 minute epic that saw the band exploring a wide variety of different musical styles.
‘Spoonman’ was a gutsy first single. Chris Cornell told triple j’s Richard Kingsmill at the time that the band weren’t so sure about how it would turn out once completely fleshed out.
I think this record is already successful. We like it as a band and I feel like our fans will definitely like it. That's good enough for me.Chris Cornell — triple j, 1994
“The original demo of it was just a guitar and a bass and a bunch of pots and pans,” Cornell said.
“We didn't really know what it would turn out like as a rock song. In terms of sounds, there's more of a stripped-down approach. More organic rock music, as opposed to our normal wall of sound approach.”
As far as the pressure to follow up such a successful album went, Cornell seemed pretty cool about the whole thing. He liked the record and he knew his fans would too.
“I think that this record is already successful in that we like it as a band and I feel like whoever our fans were that bought our last couple of records will definitely like it,” he said. “That's good enough for me.
“If it sold drastically less than Badmotorfinger then maybe I'd kinda wonder why. But I don't think it would change our approach to whatever our next album is.”
The album, of course, sold far more than its predecessor and, at over nine million units, is one of the biggest rock albums of all time.
Plenty of those sales came on the back of the album’s third single, ‘Black Hole Sun’.
When Kingsmill asked Cornell if the band were going to release the song as a single, the frontman wasn’t entirely sure. He conceded that it was one of their better efforts, but never thought it was a surefire hit.
“It's possible,” he shrugged. “It may just depend on how it's reacted to by other people, or just how we feel when it's time to come out with another single.
“A lot of people seem to react to that one, but what you've gotta remember is when you have an album of 15-16 songs on it, that there's a lot of songs to consider and a lot of reasons to make different choices.
"There's so many different feels - we don't wanna do two songs that are similar, I'd rather do four or five singles that are all really different."
Kingsmill asked if the band were concerned about the perception of their sound form the general public should ‘Black Hole Sun’ become a hit.
“I don't even really know where I would put that song in terms of a style,” Cornell said. “Considering the history of our band and how long it is, I don't think we're in danger of doing that. If there's three or four songs that sound like ‘Black Hole Sun’ and we put out a couple of singles, I could see that.”
Chris Cornell passed away while on tour with Soundgarden in Detroit this week. He was 52 years old.